Bawoorrooga is a small community near Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley. The Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (FISH) has been working with a local family to rebuild their home after a devastating fire swept through in 2017. The family is planning to use their land for eco-tourism, and develop a 400 tree fruit forest to be tended by workers living on site. Bawoorrooga also aims to recommence hosting Aboriginal schools and youth groups, focusing on supporting juvenile offenders. Young people are taught traditional bush skills, spirituality and connection to land.
In 2020, Alinga Energy Consulting secured federal funding to develop an energy strategy for the final development. The aspiration is for 100% renewable energy generation for the community. Currently the community is supplied by a Bushlight system that was installed in 2005. It includes 3.8kW solar panels, 1200Ah lead acid batteries and a 14kVA diesel generator. The panels are starting to delaminate, forcing the community to run the generator in the early hours of the morning as their stored energy is depleted before day breaks.
The community expansion will result in much higher energy demand and consumption. Despite excellent solar resources in the Kimberley, running entirely off renewable energy will be a challenge, particularly with the high air-conditioner usage expected from tourist and workers’ accommodation. Alinga is working with FISH and the development architect to reduce loads through good passive design, user education and control systems.
Alinga is working with other First Nations businesses, including Indigenous Energy Australia and Impact Investment Partners, to deliver energy feasibility studies for Bawoorrooga and other communities in Western Australia.